Jose Iglesias, Shortstop
Perhaps a more well-known commodity than Vogt, the former All-Star shortstop Jose Iglesias signed with the Cincinnati Reds this offseason, and like former Dodger All-Stars Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood, I wish he was a Dodger.
Iglesias, unlike Vogt, is still young, at just 28 years old. The second-highest shortstop on the WAR leaderboards amongst this offseason’s free agents behind Manny Machado, Iglesias has far too many accolades to have been signed to just a minor league deal.
The fleet-of-foot shortstop is well-known for his skills both with the glove and also on the base paths. In his 5 MLB seasons, Iglesias has stolen 45 bases. While this may seem low, Iglesias hasn’t finished a season with more than 467 ABs yet in his career.
Iglesias was an All-Star in 2015 and finished this career-year batting .300 with 11 steals, a feat made even more impressive considering he lost his 2014 season after fracturing both of his shins in Spring Training 2014.
While Iglesias, like Vogt, has not quite lived up to his ceiling over the last few seasons, he deserved more than the minuscule minor league contract he received this offseason.
Iglesias made over $6 million last season and the fact that his price dropped all the way down to a minor league contract despite his relatively successful 2018 campaign and his solid track record.
The 5’11 infielder was deserving of a shot at starting at second base for the Dodgers, not just for his quick bat and quick feet on the basepaths, but chiefly for his glove. Iglesias has the best fielding percentage of ALL TIME.
That was not a typo. Iglesias is, by this simple metric, the most solid fielder the game has ever seen. He has successfully fielded a higher percentage of grounders at shortstop than Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and the shortstop regarded by writers, players and fans alike as the best fielder in the game Andrelton Simmons.
Iglesias has put up four-straight 1,000+ inning seasons at shortstop and has made just 31 errors over this span. Over this stretch, Iglesias has the fourth-best Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and defensive WAR amongst shortstops and infielders overall. Here’s a highlight from Iglesias’ 2015 season:
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The slick-fielder obviously has proven himself at shortstop. And thus there’s little to no reason to believe Iglesias could not have performed well at second for the Dodgers. Here’s a more recent demonstration of his fielding prowess:
And even if he couldn’t have, he would have been a much better fielder at shortstop in a backup role resting Corey Seager than either Chris Taylor or Enrique Hernandez. Plus, he hits .300, or at least he has the ability to. Even though Iglesias’ best average since his All-Star 2015 campaign came last season and was just .269. But there’s reason to believe that he could improve upon this number with a little luck.
His BABIP in his 2015 breakout season: .330. In his rookie season, where he finished second in AL Rookie of the Year campaign: .356. Last season, Iglesias’ batting average on balls in play was all the way down to .291. For a fast, groundball hitter, his BABIP should be back up towards his 2013 and 2015 marks.
The Dodgers really could have gotten deeper and better in the field if they had made this deal. And they could have potentially brought in a .300 hitter who rarely strikes out for just a fraction of the cost of his past market value.